Veteran With His Fourth Organization

Tydus Meadows reached a milestone the other day. A notable one in a way but one that he has to have mixed feelings about. When he hit one into the seats at Jacksonville, it was his first as an employee of the Dodgers. More than that, it was his 100th career out of the yard rip. Nice but since all have been achieved in the minors, he'd probably trade them all for a big league single.

This is the eighth season that Tydus Leesteve Meadows has been laboring in the minors. He's in his fourth organization, having been drafted by the Cubs, then by the Royals as a Rule 5 selection, next to the Rangers by the same method. He joined the Dodgers as a minor league free agent last November because he was impressed by assistant general manager Kim Ng. "I liked the way she presented the organization," he says.

He spent this spring in the big league camp as a non-roster invitee, the usual carrot placed on the stick for desired minor league free agents. Sent one out in an early exhibition game but the numbers prevented his ever having a real shot at making it. He knew that would undoubtedly be the case, saying, "Of course, I'll go back to the minors if I have to. I just want to make an impression before I do."

Probably the biggest impression he can make is with the long ball for hitting the century mark in homers indicates that he has a penchant for that. But he's never been a big blaster -- the 18 he socked for Frisco in the Texas League last year were the most he's ever had in one season. And he himself thinks his greatest asset is "the versatility I bring to a team. I can do a lot of things like hit a sac fly when it's needed, for example."

Meadows played collegiately at Vanderbilt, noted more for its scholarship that its athletics but one that has a solid baseball program besides. Only a 27th round pick at that time (1998) he showed he could hit as he moved up quickly to Double-A in two years, joining West Tennessee in the Southern League. But here he is, five years later in the same league and that has to be disturbing.

Still, he says he likes what he finds with the Dodgers. "It's not easy breaking in with a new organization but these seem like a bunch of good guys."

He hasn't been hitting all that much (.212 average at the moment) but two doubles in Monday night's game indicated that he seems to be shaking himself out of the doldrums that have becalmed almost all the Suns' bats. A .295 lifetime mark indicates that he'll do more as the season wears on.

A George native, he's 27 years old now, a solid 6-2, 210-pounder who plays any of the three outfield positions. And he keeps things positive, "I just know how to work hard and hope that people notice me." So, he's striving to add some big league stats some day to the impressive minor league portfolio he's accumulated.